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The rise of participatory despotism: a systematic review of online platforms for political engagement

The rise of participatory despotism: a systematic review of online platforms for political... The purpose of this paper is to present a systematic literature review of empirical studies into online platforms for political participation. The objective was to diagnose the relationship between different types of digital participatory platforms, the real possibilities of participation generated by those initiatives and the impact of such participation on the decision-making process of governmental representatives.Design/methodology/approachA systematic literature review was conducted using pre-defined terms, expressions and criteria. A total of 434 articles from 1995 to 2015 were gathered from the Web of Science database. And, 32 studies were selected from those articles for meta-synthesis, and the cases investigated were evaluated according to the e-participation ladder model (Smyth, 2001).FindingsThe results indicated that online political participation worldwide remains timid both in quantity and quality. We have witnessed the growth of a kind of “rhetorical participation” promoted by policy-makers and the rise of a “participatory despotism”, in which only the privileged partake, while the majority remains silent.Practical implicationsThe solutions found to promote increased participation and ensure its effectiveness ranged from shaping the platform design in accordance with citizens’ capacities and interests to a need for profound political–administrative change, which includes the world’s public agencies adopting a more transparent, inclusive and collaborative approach to decision-making.Originality/valueThis paper proposes a systematic review, mapping the studies on online platforms for political participation, analysing the questions, methods and conclusions found by the authors and evaluating each case study with a participation ladder. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society Emerald Publishing

The rise of participatory despotism: a systematic review of online platforms for political engagement

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1477-996X
DOI
10.1108/jices-02-2019-0016
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to present a systematic literature review of empirical studies into online platforms for political participation. The objective was to diagnose the relationship between different types of digital participatory platforms, the real possibilities of participation generated by those initiatives and the impact of such participation on the decision-making process of governmental representatives.Design/methodology/approachA systematic literature review was conducted using pre-defined terms, expressions and criteria. A total of 434 articles from 1995 to 2015 were gathered from the Web of Science database. And, 32 studies were selected from those articles for meta-synthesis, and the cases investigated were evaluated according to the e-participation ladder model (Smyth, 2001).FindingsThe results indicated that online political participation worldwide remains timid both in quantity and quality. We have witnessed the growth of a kind of “rhetorical participation” promoted by policy-makers and the rise of a “participatory despotism”, in which only the privileged partake, while the majority remains silent.Practical implicationsThe solutions found to promote increased participation and ensure its effectiveness ranged from shaping the platform design in accordance with citizens’ capacities and interests to a need for profound political–administrative change, which includes the world’s public agencies adopting a more transparent, inclusive and collaborative approach to decision-making.Originality/valueThis paper proposes a systematic review, mapping the studies on online platforms for political participation, analysing the questions, methods and conclusions found by the authors and evaluating each case study with a participation ladder.

Journal

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in SocietyEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 20, 2019

Keywords: Systematic review; E-voting; Political participation; Digital participatory platforms; Political decision-making

References